January 23, 2009

Racing the Beam Arrives!

by Nick Montfort · , 7:45 pm

Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System by Nick Montfort and Ian Bogost, mentioned here previously, is now available from online and bricks-and-mortar booksellsers, including Amazon and Powells. The book is a detailed and accessible study of this influential videogame console from both computational and cultural perspectives, and is the first in the MIT Press platform studies series.

The book examines the relationship between the unusual hardware design of the Atari VCS (a.k.a. Atari 2600), the games that were created for it, and how those games influenced later titles and genres. Ian and I discuss the Atari VCS itself and six telling cartridges for the system: Combat, Adventure, Pac-Man, Yars’ Revenge, Pitfall!, and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. We delve into the technical specifics of the system, tracking developments in programming, gameplay, interface, and aesthetics. We hope you will find a lot to enjoy and learn from in the book!

8 Responses to “Racing the Beam Arrives!”


  1. Beam us up, Nick and Ian | First Wall Rebate Says:

    [...] first-ever FWR guest Nick Montfort’s new book, Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Game System, is now available for keepsies from the fine folks at MIT Press.  Montfort co-authored the book with the brilliant Ian Bogost, [...]

  2. Trevor Dodge Says:

    Congratulations, Nick and Ian. Can’t wait to finally get my hands on this!

  3. Mark M Says:

    Congrats, fellows! Kudos! It seems like just yesterday you were leaving a dinner in Maine early to wrap it up! Can’t wait to read it.

    Now I must get to work on my copyright-infringing knock-off about the Odyssey 3000!

  4. Ian Bogost Says:

    Congrats to us! We’ll look forward to all of your reactions to the book. It was a lot of fun to work on.

    And don’t forget to send us your ideas/proposals for more Platform Studies books!

  5. William Patrick Wend Says:

    Congrats Ian & Nick! I am looking forward to reading this book.

  6. Noah Wardrip-Fruin Says:

    I’ve used pre-publication material in the last couple classes I’ve taught and can confirm it’s insightful, accessible, and somehow both expansive and compact. Looking forward to employing the full, finished book!

  7. Scott Rettberg Says:

    Well done!

  8. Andrew Stern Says:

    Congrats. I’m looking forward to reading it.

Powered by WordPress